VICTORY: FEC holds Tea Party accountable

The Federal Election Commission was on the verge of granting a prominent Washington Tea Party group an exemption from federal reporting and disclosure requirements not only for donors, but also for expenditures. If the Tea Party got its way, it would have been allowed to legally operate under cover of complete darkness and function as a conduit for billionaires’ money to buy the midterm elections for right-wing conservatives in 2014.

At the beginning of the hearing, mention was made of the comment submitted on behalf of over 5,000 CREDO members. On Thursday, November 21, the FEC denied the Tea Party’s request by a 3-2 vote, which meant the Tea Party Leadership Fund would have to continue making disclosures according to the rules everyone else has to follow.

VICTORY: Texas State Board of Education approves science textbooks based on established science

Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) has the power to vote on science materials that will be in classrooms for the next decade. And for years, an anti-science faction of that board has done all it can to undermine the science of evolution and climate change by giving equal weight to nonscientific beliefs like climate change denial and the idea that dinosaurs and humans coexisted.

Nearly 20,000 CREDO members signed a petition to stand up for science, and the Texas State Board of Education cast a final vote to approve science textbooks based on established science.

VICTORY: GMO crops banned on Hawaii island

Hawaii imports over 90 percent of its food. Biotech companies claim that greater use of genetically modified crops will make Hawaii more self-sufficient in its food supply, but in reality they are growing these crops on the other four islands for use in industrial agriculture in other parts of the world. And because genetically modified seeds must be re-purchased by farmers every season, there is no chance to adapt crops to local climate conditions through locally grown seeds by farmers – something key to food security.

Bill 113 bans the production of genetically modified crops to protect Hawaii’s biodiversity and prevent further contamination of seed supply, the destruction of land and the poisoning of families through increased pesticide use. 

Thanks to activism – including 3,900 petition signatures – Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi signed Bill 113 into law on Thursday, Dec. 5.

VICTORY: Justice for sexual assault survivor Daisy Coleman

In January 2012, Daisy Coleman was sexually assaulted and left unconscious overnight on her Maryville, Missouri front yard in freezing temperatures. A few months later, charges against her accused attacker – a high school football player with a well-connected family – were dropped under suspicious circumstances.

Thanks to activism that includes 10,000 CREDO petition signatures, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, who has long stood up for victims of domestic and sexual assault, was named by a Missouri circuit court judge as the special prosecutor to re-open Daisy’s case.

VICTORY: Ole Miss protects LGBTQ equality

During a performance of “The Laramie Project” at Ole Miss — a play describing the life, the brutal beating, and the death of Matthew Shepard — audience members began booing, calling out derogatory slurs, and harassing the actors. Ole Miss has a non-discrimination policy in place that covers sexual orientation in faculty employment procedures, but it’s clearly not enough to institute a more accepting university culture. 

After activists presented almost 500 signatures, Ole Miss agreed to review all university policies to ensure that LGBTQ folks are protected from discrimination.

VICTORY: Colorado Air Quality Control Commission adopts new standards

The EPA designated nine Colorado counties as violating federal air pollution standards. Oil and gas activity continues unabated in Colorado with thousands of new wells drilled each year, compounding the impacts already felt from the 51,000 wells in production today. Oil and gas operators are polluting the Rocky Mountain air, but the impending new air pollution standards present the governor-appointed Air Quality Control Commission with the opportunity to reduce pollution and protect our health. 

In their deliberations, commissioners cited the overwhelming support for strong rules from people across the state, including 3,000 signatures, as a reason to pass strong protections for Colorado.

VICTORY: Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity removes coal-related educational sections from its website.

Illinois is in the process of revamping its widely denounced coal education program for schools, but it still hasn’t taken down its pro-coal propaganda website. The website is problematic for several reasons. With a mounting health care crisis from reckless increases in coal mining, the site fails to acknowledge the dangers of coal slurry impoundment sites, coal ash, mercury pollution and the documented environmental impacts of coal mining and burning. The site also fails to acknowledge the continual battle to guarantee the health and safety of all coal miners, especially for non-union operations, as the industry fails to deal with the rising incidence of black lung disease.

The IDCEO removed coal-related educational sections from its website less than two weeks after the launch of a grassroots campaign that included 3,400 CREDO signatures demanding that the pages be taken down.

VICTORY: Gov. Brown signs S.B. 27, the bill to force dark money non-profits to reveal their funders in California elections

Nonprofits linked to the Koch brothers funneled $15 million of secret money into California last election. S.B. 27 makes sure billionaires and other special interests can’t hide behind secretive nonprofits by requiring any group spending $50,000 in California elections to reveal exactly who gave the money.

After activism including 15,000 signatures from CREDO members, the bill passed in the California Senate by a margin of 28-7 and Gov. Brown signed it into law.

VICTORY: Gov Jerry Brown signs Early Abortion Access Bill (A.B. 154)

A.B. 154 provides California with the opportunity to lead the nation by removing barriers to abortion care. By authorizing trained health professionals to provide early abortions, this bill improves access to care and allows women to obtain services from providers in their community that they already know and trust. It ensures that women in rural and urban areas of California have access to early abortion care.

Thousands of CREDO members signed a petition, and Gov. Brown signed A.B. 154 into law.

VICTORY: Deborah Brown Community School apologizes to Tiana Parker and changes dress code

Tiana Parker, a 7-year-old straight-A student, was sent home in tears from her Tulsa, Oklahoma charter school after being told that, according to news reports, her short and tidy dreadlocks didn’t look presentable.

Over 20,000 CREDO activists signed Wagatwe’s petition and sent the school a powerful message: Telling a 7-year-old girl that her natural hair is “not presentable” is discriminatory and unacceptable. Her petition struck a major nerve and generated local, national and international media attention in outlets like the Tulsa World, MSNBC, Huffington Post and United Press International. The independent governing board for Deborah Brown Community School unanimously voted to remove language prohibiting dreadlocks, afros, and other “faddish styles” of hair from its dress code.